Sensing a trend in the industry, DePaul University’s Department of Finance has developed a new in-depth graduate program to train those in the wealth management industry to better cater to their clients. The master’s degree allows financial professionals to delve further into every aspect of the financial-planning process to meet the expanding demand for personalized financial advice.

“Wealth management has emerged as a discipline that requires a more sophisticated grasp of not only financial products and strategies, but also the human side of addressing the needs of the affluent,” says Bill Obenshain, executive director of DePaul’s Center for Financial Services. The program grew out of discussions and focus groups with members of local wealth management firms, who also weighed in on the curriculum.

The Master of Science in Wealth Management degree is a designed to teach students the skills needed to help others achieve their individual and family financial goals in a complex legal and economic environment. “There is a mix of talents needed for the wealth management industry, both technical skills and softer skills," says Daniel Deli, the degree’s academic director and an assistant professor of finance. "Often people are strong in one dimension or the other but not balanced, so that’s what we’re after: training the well-rounded wealth manager."

Some schools across the nation offer an undergraduate financial planning degree, and there are certificate programs for refreshing financial skills, but Deli believes DePaul’s new degree stands on its own. “Certainly in Chicago there’s nothing like this,” he says. The program fills a gap between degrees that are too narrow (Certified Financial Planner programs) or too broad (MBAs in finance or management), he says.

The two-year degree has 12 required courses and no electives. Courses cover topics ranging from the psychology of financial decision making to ethics in financial markets to risk management and tax and estate planning. Because each course is offered only once a year, the program does not yet have rolling admission.

“Each course is specifically there to address a particular part of the wealth management industry,” Deli explains. “This is not a general money management degree. Students will be drawn to the program for the depth of understanding that they get.”

To learn more about the M.S. in Wealth Management or apply for fall 2014, contact the Kellstadt Graduate School of Business at (312) 362-8810 or kgsb@depaul.edu or visit the Department of Finance website. There is also an online brochure and slide deck​.

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